Every spring in my teenage years, as a teenager unattractive For classical music, I spent many hours on the radio listening to live rounds of the Montreal International Music Competition (CMIM).
In the run-up to the Olympics, we can spend hours watching our favorite events and comparing the athletes’ skills. These moments of dizzying artistry, acrobatics, etc., hold our breath, and we can even imagine Alain Goldberg’s voice gently resting there: “She accelerates… and it’s a hit! Ma-wonderful…”
Later, I covered a few editions of CMIM as a cultural journalist, fascinated by these luminous young musicians who were under close scrutiny to outdo themselves from around the world.
The competition has a certain cycle: its editions are assigned alternately to singing, piano and then violin, as was the case this year.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the violin years. I’ve had violinists and I admired the perfect physical bond they had with their instrument: something like a bonsai in the violinist’s body that became organic…with time and hard work.
The violin repertoire is impressive: Bach, a must from the first round of the competition, the great sonatas we hear during the semi-finals, and then the grand concertos in the final.
The Internet has taken over from conventional radio: the competitive platform offers it all, live. IC Music Classic will broadcast the semi-finals for the first time on April 29 and 30, and will present the best moments of the competition in a special evening on May 8, all hosted by Marie-Christine Trottier.
But nothing beats the experience in the room: Believers compare descriptions, go there with their opinions during breaks, and catch fire for a charismatic personality.
Before becoming the competition’s general and artistic director in 2012, Christian LeBlanc experienced the event as a director: “Shortly after I arrived at Radio-Canada, I was appointed to the competition. I lived behind the scenes from start to finish. The public was numerous and highly mobilized: on the last evening of the final, the most loyal brought tablecloths and picnicked on the Place des Arts Esplanade during the jury’s deliberations! »
I ask her what made her jump from radio to the direction of CMIM: “I was already looking after the Revélations en musique, a radio-Canada competition. In fact, I could have been a talent agent: there is nothing more exciting than discovering a new young talent. This is what we experience every year at the competition! »
Although the final classification presents surprises, strong ones, we recognize them from the first test.
Christian LeBlanc, General and Artistic Director of the Montreal International Music Competition
But he tells the 24 young musicians chosen that they are already successful: the preparatory work, the meetings they make in Montreal, can all contribute to their development. “I want to surround them, support them, give them optimal conditions. We have nice rooms, nice pianos, we book and pay for their plane tickets, which is very rare in a competitive network, but it makes it possible to attract candidates from Europe and Asia. Each $2,500 This is thanks to a group of businessmen who pay and sponsor a candidate.
For Christian LeBlanc, hospitality is at the heart of CMIM’s philosophy: “Each candidate is looked after at the airport by a host family who takes care of them during the two weeks of the competition: a significant voluntary commitment. It creates a safety net for these young people who come from far away and experience a language barrier. »
The violinists are mostly in their 20s: “They are almost children, but their poise on stage is breathtaking. »
Many have been competing since childhood, simply because there is already a job. For the second time, we will present a pre-competition event called Mini Violini: two concerts by a young artist aged 10 to 14, selected by the CMIM committee, mostly winners of junior competitions. Audiences love it and the Porgy Hall is packed on April 22nd and 23rd.
Another event to look forward to on April 28th at 2:30pm in Porgy Hall is a lecture by Professor Marie-Elizabeth Brown, who will present her 3D Violin: a Reproducible 3D-Printed Instrument for Seven Dollars! This trend is proving its worth everywhere, revolutionizing music education in underprivileged areas.
Christian LeBlanc will leave the management of CMIM at the end of this 2023 edition. He is happy to leave a company in good health: “I am very proud of the community woven around the competition by donors, partners and host families. . »
I only participated in the North American tournament in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. No host family, but the official hotel went there with an unlikely display on its awning: “Welcome harpsichordists! »
I was 20 years old, and I left the finals with an “honorable mention” and was determined not to experience such stress again.
I am always impressed by people who run matches with grace.
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